5 Ways to Capitalize on a Win at Work

As firms scrutinize their employees more, highlighting big wins is important. Here are some ways to leverage them.

The presentation was flawless, and before it was over, everyone in the room knew you had won the account. Landing the client was a huge win for the firm, and for you.

A big win at work is an important career moment—one that most people mishandle, experts say. Korn Ferry senior client partner Maria Amato notes that employees often fail to capitalize on (and frequently end up squandering) work wins. Some people slack off, basking in their success. Others barely acknowledge it, moving right on to the next project. Many people experience anxiety thinking about replicating their success, while others become so exhilarated that they feel emotionally and mentally drained afterward. “Additional opportunities are opening up for you, take advantage of them while you can,” says Amato.

Overall, the number of job openings has fallen 30% over the past two years, so the right timing can help. Here are some thoughts:

Keep score.

“Wins are notoriously hard to remember when you need them,” says Korn Ferry Advisory associate principal Frances Weir. She advises recording the key details—project terms, revenue generated, etc.—in a file that you can refer to during performance reviews or interviews, or even for networking as opportunities arise. “Plus, reading the file can serve as a great pick-me-up on those days when you have to take a loss,” says Weir.

Spread the wealth.

No one wins on their own, and no one likes a credit hog. Acknowledge and share credit with key contributors to your success, whether it’s the manager who gave you the assignment or the member of the team who helped you work on it. And even if the win was yours alone, share what you learned with others. “Use your success to help others learn and grow so they, too, can have access to the same kinds of opportunities,” says Weir.

Tell your network.

There’s nothing wrong with promoting your achievement on social media, say experts. “It’s important to celebrate success,” says Korn Ferry Advance career coach Tiffinee Swanson. Highlighting your success can generate visibility within your company, industry, and network. Experts caution, however, that finding the right balance of celebration, humility, and gratitude is critically important on social media.

Run through the finish line.

Carolyn Vavrek, leader of the North American Assessment and Succession practice at Korn Ferry, advises clients to build upon the win by “running through the finish line.” Instead of viewing the win as an end point, she suggests you look at it as the starting point for a new project or goal. Now that you have the attention of your boss and other leaders, use the opportunity to try to advance your development, she says. “That’s how you distinguish yourself and build long-term credibility.”

Hit for average.

You can’t hit a home run every time at bat, of course. But you still have to take your cuts. Swanson says striking out is to be expected every now and then—getting up to the plate is what matters. It’s important to maintain a sense of perspective, she says, and not to get too high after wins or too low after losses. “Consistency in both effort and performance is what will truly elevate you for long-term success,” says Swanson.  


For more career advice, connect with a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.